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I would like to commend Congresswoman Diane Watson for organizing the Congressional Symposium on American Film and Public Diplomacy and her sponsorship of legislation that includes establishing the Johnny Grant Film Series featuring classic American cinema in U.S. embassies and missions overseas. I think it is a grand idea that allows us to tap into one of the United States' most significant contributions to culture over the past century as an element of public diplomacy outreach.

It is by now well known that President Hugo Chavez failed to garner a majority vote in the December 1st plebiscite called to authorize 69 changes to the Venezuelan constitution. This surprising defeat, the first for Chavez since his 1998 election to the presidency, will undoubtedly force a bit of soul-searching in government circles and energize the opposition, even if it is unlikely to produce significant change in the country.

December 5, 2007

"There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it."
Lord Acton

Notwithstanding a conviction still popular in certain circles to the effect that diplomacy is a special calling or vocation, there is nothing sanctified about it. To cope with the myriad requirements of effective practice in the 21st century, diplomats have to chill out and loosen up.

For all the seething scorn and vitriol Americans have hurled toward Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in recent years one would never suspect a kindly word of either uttered privately, let alone publicly. But when it comes to public diplomacy such inhibitions seem to disappear even amongst the highest ranking political leadership and in the most public fashion. In a speech on November 26 before an audience at Kansas State University, it was Defense Secretary Robert Gates' turn to wax profoundly on the subject.

November 14, 2007

This article originally appeared on the USC US-China Institute's web magazine US-China Today.




Dear User: Due to the large number of text messages you’ve sent to the opposite sex, creating the worst and their negative influence on society, we have already suspended your text message service. Tomorrow, please bring your wooden stool to the police station to execute moral re-education!
(Translated Chinese Text Message)


This blog post first appeared in the International Herald Tribune.

Roger Cohen, in his column "Afghanistan at the tipping point" (Globalist, Nov. 1), clarifies a major point: "Afghanistan is not Iraq."

It's true: No peace operation is winnable without popular support. We have the Afghan public behind us, but we can lose that if we do not deliver peace.

November 4, 2007

Not too long ago, Karen Hughes discussed her job as director of U.S. public diplomacy efforts as contributing to a long term process of cultivating America's image. For her, the work of public diplomacy remains akin to "planting a tree under whose shade you would not sit." Now the mantle of that responsibility passes to another, as Karen Hughes announced her resignation this week from her post as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Eureka Dejavu, the avatar of Rita J. King, CEO and Creative Director of Dancing Ink Productions, LLC, explores the virtual world and comments about events like Virtual Vibe Jazz Fest hosted by United States Department of State International Information Programs Bureau and The University of Southern California Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School bringing a cultural revolution.

To read more about the blog kindly click Public Diplomacy As Cultural Revolution



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